5 Ways You Can Be a Part Of The Movement Of God At Castle Hills Church

Well it’s officially been one year that God has allowed me to serve here at Castle Hills as your pastor.  I can’t tell you how blessed Becky and I feel to be a part of this great church!  Looking back, this has been a year of excitement, seeing God move in so many amazing ways.

While this past year has been awesome, I believe this coming year is going to be even better!  Here are 5 Ways You Can Be A Part of the Movement of God Here at Castle Hills!

  1. PRAY.  Where prayer focuses, God’s power falls.  We want to see God’s power move here at Castle Hills.
  2. INVITE.  We all interact with people every day.  Many of these people are far away from God and need Him in their life. Invite them to be a part of how God is moving at Castle Hills.  Your enthusiasm is contagious.  Statistics show that people will come if invited.
  3. GIVE.  Be generous with your resources and finances.  There are new opportunities for ministry every day that Castle Hills can be a part of.  When God opens doors, we want to say YES!
  4. SERVE.  Find the one thing that you can do for Christ at Castle Hills and do it!
  5. THANK.  Thank God that He allows you to be a part of His Church and a part of how He is moving!

All of these are a matter of obedience to what Christ has called us to.  If we all embrace these 5 things, we can continue to see God move in our church!  I’m so thankful for each of you and for God’s continued blessing this summer.

I can’t wait to worship with you this weekend!

-Matt

Was the Early Church the Perfect Church?

Many people seem to feel that the first church we read about in Acts was the perfect church. But was it? We talked about that this past Sunday at The Fellowship. We looked at some of the hindrances to the church being effective on its mission. Check it out. Then, join us this Sunday at either our Two Rivers or our Mt. Juliet location. See you then!

Acts Effect WEEK 4- Spiritual Integrity from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

Wake Up!

This past Sunday we started a new series we are calling The Acts Effect. In this series, we will be looking at the launch of the New Testament church and the ways that God worked through His people to carry out His mission. One of the big aquestions I am asking our church is, “What is your part in the story?” If you missed this past week, I encouraged our people to join me in praying the following: God, awaken our hearts so that we obey Your Spirit and Surrender to Your Mission.

We focused Sunday on God Awakening our Hearts. Part of how this happens is when we have a right understanding of Christ Jesus. Three things to consider about Jesus that may sound “Sunday Schoolish”, but the reality is that these three things are life-changing!

1. He is our Risen Savior

2. He is our Exalted Lord

3. He is our Coming King

Check out the message from this past Sunday if you missed it here:

Don’t miss this Sunday as we continue this powerful series. Also, if you are not currently in a Life Group you are lame!! (just kidding, but you are missing out on something huge!)

See you and a friend this weekend at The Fellowship!

Matt

God, Awaken Our Heart from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

Training Camp: Commitment.

As we continue the Training Camp series at the Fellowship, an emphasis we have been looking at is commitment. In sports, commitment is vital. It is an expectation! As the church, it seems we have lowered the bar in trying to appeal to the masses and have ended up excusing people from commitment. Commitment is need to accomplish the goals of winning games in sports and commitment is need by the members of the body of Christ to accomplish the task of impacting the world with the gospel and expanding The Kingdom!

Here at The Fellowship, we have looked at the fact that a committed follower of Christ is someone who is being transformed, someone who is becoming more like Christ. This past Sunday we looked at the fact that a committed follower of Christ is also someone who is engaged in the body of Christ. Being engaged in the body means there is connection, emotional involvement and commitment. The focal passage was 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.

Check out this past Sunday’s message from Training Camp and see what it means to be engaged in the body of Christ.

Engaged from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

Do You Have a Commitment Problem?

This week, in our Training Camp series at The Fellowship, we talked about commitment. There’s a lot of discussion these days on commitment phobias. Interestingly, most people don’t really have a commitment problem. They simply want to be committed to something that they perceive as worthwhile or important. With NFL training camp coming up soon, lots of folks will show their allegiance and loyalty to their beloved teams. When it comes to the church however, we tend to lower the bar. Why is that? Well, we talked a bit about this issue and more. Check it out, and join us this coming Sunday where we’ll continue this series. The topic this week will focus on the unique talents each of us brings to the game and how we can not only best use, but improve them. Worship is at 10:45 a.m. with LIFEgroups starting at 9:30 a.m. See you there!

Commitment from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

“Gentlemen, this is a football.”

As the story goes, each year at training camp, legendary football coach Vince Lombardi would hold up a football and say these words, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” It sounds odd that he would perform this ritual, but the point was, if you don’t master the basics, you can’t win the game. We talked about the fundamentals for us as a church this past weekend at The Fellowship. It was the first week in our new series Training Camp. Take a few moments to watch, then join us for part two this coming Sunday. Worship is at 10:45 a.m., with LIFEgroups at 9:30 a.m. See you there!

“Fundamentals” from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

Training Camp. Starts this Weekend!

I love sports. And I am not alone. With every new season a special level of excitement builds up inside for many of us. The training camp, however, is where it all really starts to come together. The place where coaches take individuals and show them how to work as a unified team. That’s when the action begins.

In football, training camp is used in several different ways. Coaches equip, train, and develop each players’ unique gifts. Training camp is also the time to cast vision and set goals for the team as a whole.

At The Fellowship, our new series called Training Camp begins this Sunday, July 15. Join us for this message series as we spend four weeks in the Word going over what God’s game plan is for us. We’re all in this together. Let’s go! Training Camp: God’s Game Plan for the Church. Worship begins at 10:45 a.m. with LIFEgroups at 9:30 a.m.. See you there!

Learning from The Best.

I think one of the keys to being effective in any profession is not only surrounding yourself with the best, but learning from the best. As a pastor, I would add “and the most godly” to that statement. Over the years I have been fortunate to be around some of the most influential top pastors in the nation and to learn from them. This past week I was in Florida at a meeting with these types of individuals—learning about all the different aspects of pastoring from men who have done it well and have something to offer a young guy like me. I’m always encouraged, challenged and stretched through these times together.

I encourage everyone, in whatever field of leadership you are in, to participate in mentorship opportunities. We can’t do it alone. Special thanks to the MegaMetro Pastor’s conference for being that to me this week!

Serving Alongside,
Matt

Vision Sunday at The Fellowship.

What a great day at The Fellowship this past weekend! If you weren’t able to join us for worship yesterday or for Lead Time, we’ve talking about the future of our church and where we are seeing God leading us. In Isaiah 54:2, the prophet encourages the Children of Israel to think big and to spread out! Click here to learn more about what God is doing now at The Fellowship and join us as we look ahead to the great and mighty things He is yet to do!

Serving Alongside,
Matt

Are Churches Really Failing?

I saw this article and thought I’d share it with you. Let me know what you think.

Study Says God-Connections at Church are “Rare”
Are churches failing, or are our expectations too high?
by Skye Jethani

Let’s be honest for a minute. Most churches expend the vast majority of their resources on weekend worship gatherings. It’s when facilities are most utilized, when programming is most robust, when volunteers are most required, and what many pastors spend the majority of their time preparing for. This great emphasis on Sunday is often justified because it’s when people gather to meet with God.
But new research released this week from Barna reveals that most churchgoers rarely experience God in worship services. While most people surveyed can recall a “real and personal connection” with God while at church (66%), they also reported that these connections are “rare.” Among those who attend church every week, less than half (44%) say they experience God’s presence. And one-third of those who have attended church report never feeling God’s presence in a worship gathering.

But “experiencing God” is a wishy-washy, emotional, and subjective idea, you might argue. We’re in the business of transforming lives. Well, the Barna study has a dose of reality for you too.

The survey also probed the degree to which people say their lives had been changed by attending church. Overall, one-quarter of Americans (26%) who had been to a church before said that their life had been changed or affected “greatly” by attending church. Another one-fourth (25%) described it as “somewhat” influential. Nearly half said their life had not changed at all as a result of churchgoing (46%).
A closer look at the breakdown of the survey participants is also illuminating. Generally, the older generations (Elders and Boomers) reported more positive church experiences than younger generations (Busters and Mosaics). The report says “There were significant gaps between young adults and older adults when it came to feeling part of a group that cares for each other, experiencing God’s presence, knowing the church prioritizes assisting the poor, and being personally transformed.”

What should we conclude from this report from Barna? That is going to depend upon your own setting and congregation. But here are a few of my wonderings:

-Many (perhaps most) churches still have structures/values that appeal to those 50+. Despite all of the rhetoric since the 90s about “emerging generations” and new models of church, there is little evidence it has been implemented broadly or effective.

-Is the problem really our worship services, or what we expect from them? Some might look at these numbers and respond by updating their music selection, adding some icons or candles, and getting younger leaders up front. And that might be wise. But I wonder if most people aren’t “experiencing God” in these gatherings because they aren’t experiencing God Monday through Saturday either. Perhaps we (church leaders) have over-emphasized worship gatherings because they are something we can control, when we ought to be training people to commune with God apart from formal services.

-Finally, a friend of mine has vented in the past about all of the “transforming lives” talk that permeates ministry gatherings these days. “Transformation isn’t our job,” he rants, “it’s God’s! All we can do is lead people to him.” Granted, my friend is highly Reformed, but he has a point. Might it be time to consider what Paul said about ministry in 1 Corinthians 3? Some plant the seeds, others water it, but ultimately it is God who causes the growth. I don’t believe we should ignore outcomes or allow lazy, ineffectual discipleship to take root in our churches. But we must also admit that life transformation is more mysterious, more God-driven, than making widgets in a factory.

I welcome your responses to the Barna study.

Serving Alongside,
Matt